Video streaming is quickly becoming one of the most common ways to consume media, and Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime subscription levels all continue to rise. The ability to access a huge library of movies and TV shows is very convenient, and people are looking to new devices that allow them to watch this content on their TV.
The Roku line of products is one of the best solutions for this situation, as they are affordable and they are very easy to use. But if you have been thinking about getting a Roku, there are a few important things to know before you make that purchase. So continue reading below to find out more about what you should know before you buy a Roku.
One of the first things you should do, however, is read our article about which Roku to buy. There are a number of different models of Rokus and they all have certain features that make them better in certain situations.
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There are a Lot of Rokus, So Make Sure You Get the Right One
Roku sells several different models of Rokus, and the ports they have and the features they offer vary from device to device. The less expensive Roku models have fewer ports and features, as you would expect, while the more expensive models have all of the bells and whistles. For example, the Roku LT (on Amazon) is the least expensive model, and can only output content in 720p resolution. The most expensive model, the Roku 3 (on Amazon), can output content in 1080p, has a faster processor, can play games, has dual-band Wi-Fi and is just a better overall device. But not everyone needs all of the Roku 3’s features, and the lower cost of the Roku LT could make it a better option in certain situations. So it’s definitely worth clicking the links above and checking out the assorted prices and features to see which Roku is best for your needs.
They Don’t Come With HDMI Cables
None of the Roku models come with an HDMI cable, so you are either going to need to use a spare one around your house, or you are going to need to purchase a new one. Amazon sells HDMI cables, however, that are less expensive than options you will find in any store. This will not be an issue if you are purchasing one of the Roku models that comes with A’V cables and you are planning to hook it up to a non-HDTV. Those A/V cables can only output up to 480p, so you aren’t going to be able to view HD content if you use the included free cables to connect your Roku to your TV.
There is No Monthly or Yearly Fee for Using a Roku
Your initial Roku purchase is likely the last money that you will pay to Roku. They do offer some paid channels that you can download, but the majority of users are only ever going to use the free channels. So once you have purchased the device, the only fees that you will be paying will be related to the Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime or other monthly/yearly subscription fees that you pay for those services.
The Rokus all require access to a network. This means that you are going to need Internet access (preferably broadband, like cable or DSL) and a router. Some of the Roku models have ethernet ports that allow you to connect to your router with a wired ethernet cable, but the device is meant to be used with a wireless network. So it’s important that you either have a network set up in your home, or that you pan to have one set up so, to which you can connect your new Roku. You are also going to need to know the name and password for that network. If you aren’t sure if you have a network in your home, then just consider whether you can get on the Internet in your home with a laptop or tablet. If you can, and you aren’t using a cellular connection, then you probably have a network to which you can connect your Roku.
For more Roku information, check out our article about quick answer on Rokus.
Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.
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